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Guest Blog: We all have pet parking hates (A Sideways View from Prof. Peter Cooke)

Do you have any pet hates regarding mobility issues? I do. I try not to bore people with them but I feel that as a mobility sufferer I almost have a duty to talk about it to able bodied people in the hope they will listen to real experiences and take note.

Whatever we might think, individually we are ambassadors for the wider disabled community. However badly we may feel we have been treated, I consider it our duty not just to complain but to point out the error of their ways to the perpetrators – as often as not, they probably have never given their inconsiderate actions a second thought.

But then some have – and couldn’t care less.

Non disabled drivers parking in disabled parking spaces ‘well, it was raining and I didn’t want to get wet – and there was nobody else using the space’. Or ‘I take my auntie out every month so I sometimes use her blue badge – nobody minds’….My wife has had a lot of abuse hurled at her when suggesting to non disabled drivers parked in disabled spaces that they might like to move.

A recent response we had was ‘Oh, I didn’t think disabled people came out after dark’.

Equally, white vans parked in disabled spaces so the driver does not have to walk too far are another obsession.

Call me vindictive but on occasions I have called the managing director of larger companies if the phone number was on the side of the offending van. I congratulated him on employing disabled staff….I have had some interesting responses – mostly positive – and on occasions have seen vans moved with alacrity……is that claiming disability rights unfairly or simply asking for rules to be followed? Well, if van advertising asks you to call and say how well they are doing – what do they expect?

One realises that the police and traffic wardens have a wide range of responsibilities, but I feel that all too often minor offences of parking in reserved disabled spaces are ignored. Yes, it’s an element of Zero Tolerance – but I wish those unthinking drivers could be encouraged to think.